Canadian go-slow on gay marriage

The Anglican Church of Canada’s House of Bishops has urged the church to consider the ramifications of adopting rites for the blessing of same-sex marriages through political means. In a communique released on 26 Oct 2015 from their meeting in Niagara Falls, Ontario, the bishops signaled that a 50 per cent plus one approach to the question of gay marriage could divide the church. They announced they would gather in a special session from 23-26 Feb 2016 to discuss a report from the Commission on the Marriage Canon that argued that same-sex marriage had a theological justification. The communique noted: Our conversations to this point have been marked by openness and charity, and this has enabled us to discuss frankly the range of hopes and fears that we are experiencing as we anticipate debate on this motion at our next General Synod, and the likely pastoral challenges we face if the motion, as it stands, passes or fails. We are mindful of the deep pain that either the passage or defeat of the motion will bring to our Church.” However they were “concerned that parliamentary procedure may not be the most helpful way to discern the mind of the Church, or of the Spirit, in this matter, and we would ask those in charge of designing the process whereby the draft resolution comes to the floor of General Synod to consider ways in which trust and understanding can be promoted and deepened.” The special meeting of the House of Bishops would “pay particular attention to the theology of marriage, the nature of episcopacy, and the synod’s legislative process. As we continue to wrestle with how to honour our roles as guardians of the Church’s faith and discipline and signs of unity both locally and universally, we hope to gain greater clarity and conviction about how most faithfully to provide leadership in our dioceses and the Anglican Church of Canada.” The Rt. Rev. Barbara Andrews, (pictured) Bishop of the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior told the Anglican Journal the gay marriage was “going to cause deep pain to everybody in the church if it goes to a vote. Because we never win with yes/no votes on important things like this.”

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